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Real-Time Particulate and Toxic-Gas Sensors for Fire Fighter Health and Safety

Removal of respiratory protection during activities such as fire overhaul and wildland fire fighting can expose firefighters to unknown toxicants. The preliminary study indicates evidence to justify the needs for simultaneous monitoring of particulates (including ultrafines), aldehydes (formaldehyde, acrolein), and hydrocarbons (benzene) in addition to the CO levels, as they frequently exceed the exposure limits and lead to severe health issues in fire fighters. This project will focus on developing prototypes of compact, highly sensitive, real-time particulate/gas detection systems to reduce the number of fire fighter fatalities and injuries. The sensors will alert the fire fighters of hazards in the air.

This three year research project is supported by Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) assistance to Firefighters/Fire Prevention and Safety Grant to CWRU. The Fire Protection Research Foundation will assist in forming a Project Technical Panel, who will provide inputs and external evaluation to the project, assist in dissemination of the study results, and review the final report.